Many schools across the country will in all likelihood reopen in the fall for the 2020-21 school year. States are currently reviewing potential models that maximize both learning – whether in-person or continued remote instruction – and health and safety. Still, because of continued uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, “back to school” for many districts and college campuses remains more of an “if” than a “when.”
As some states are currently discovering, reopening plans that ignore or downplay the advice of scientists and public health experts can backfire. For K-12 and higher ed buildings, a poorly designed and executed strategy can cost lives, particularly among our most vulnerable students and in communities of color, or the very least further jeopardize their educational progress.
The National Education Association (NEA) believes that any reopening model has to not only ensure the health and safety of students and staff, but also prioritize long term strategies on student learning and educational equity.